I Have A Child With Scoliosis
How to help your child own their scoliosis
Your child just received a scoliosis diagnosis. You may feel overwhelmed and even a little bit frightened. More than likely you’ve received conflicting information and advice, and you don’t know who to trust. But there’s one thing you do know: you’re not content to sit around and wait to see if your child’s scoli gets any worse—you’re going to do everything in your power to halt it. I understand this, and a whole lot more. I, too, have scoliosis, and so do most of my clients. I can help you sort through any confusion surrounding scoliosis. Let’s get started.
1. TAKE a deep breath
My company, Spiral Spine, has many resources and ways to help your child. Breathe in slowly, then exhale slowly. Repeat. Help has come.
2. WATCH the Starting Point Series
These short videos will teach you how to begin helping your child. They will introduce you to my method and prepare you and your child to use scoli-specific movement strategies.
3. READ these helpful blogs
"How Do You Help a Scoli Client? Movement!"
While this blog post is aimed at Pilates instructors, you’ll learn why movement is one of the keys to managing scoliosis.
"Research Shows a Supplement Reduces Scoliosis"
New research shows that certain supplements may have an effect on reducing spinal curvature or may delay the onset of scoliosis. Please take a read to decide if this is an avenue you'd like to pursue.
"Do Back Braces Help Scoliosis?"
Back braces are a very important part of your child's scoliosis story and not every brace is created equal.
"Braces and Scoliosis"
Did you know that braces can have a role in the development of scoliosis? If you're considering them for your child or your child has had them, this blog will help you understand an important piece of your child's scoliosis story.
4. USE a Scoliometer
A scoliometer helps measure vertebral rotation. It is useful to track regular measurements before and after exercise. A decrease in rotation is correlated with movement that is good for your child’s body and helps untwist their spiral spine. You’ll use the scoliometer to check your child’s back before and after exercises.
If you need a refresher on how to use a scoliometer, you can re-watch the intro video in the Starting Point Series.
Once you have a scoliometer it will be important to keep a log of your child's measurements. The scoliometer tracking chart will help you do that easily, and it also has a place for notes. Things that have affected your child that week (illness, long car rides, lots of lifting, etc.) are good to put down in the notes column. You’ll begin to see patterns as to what helps your child's body feel its best.
The "Scoliometer Tracking" blog post will help you and your child understand the importance of regular scoliometer use.
5. READ The Beautiful Scoliotic Back
This inspirational book, featuring stories of others with scoli who have successfully taken control of their quality of life, will help you take a proactive approach towards managing your child’s diagnosis.
6. GET My Scoli Journal for your child
Designed for the teenager with scoliosis, this journal allows your child to record the physical and emotional aspects of their scoli. Treating this as a diary, your child will make notes as to what helps their scoli and what makes them feel good, while guiding and allowing them to work through the many emotions scoli often brings forth.
7. GATHER props with your child & put them in a special place
To start, whatever you have around your house that your child can work out with is great. Some ideas are yoga mats, towels, balls, shelf liner (for padding), foam rollers, and yoga blocks.
Find a special basket or container for your child’s props. You can even encourage them to decorate it to help them own their diagnosis and feel more positively towards their workout.
If you don't have any props and don't know where to buy some, you can click on the picture to the right to access my curated list.
8. EXERCISE virtually with the Spiral Spine staff*
Continued movement is the most important part of your child's scoliosis care. Our virtual appointments offer the same benefits as in-person ones. Virtual lessons teach pad placement, show where breath needs to go, figure out and tweak at-home exercises and stretches for your child's body, address any needed rehab from surgeries, bracing, or injury, and check in on how they (and you) are doing emotionally. Clients typically start with regular private appointments and then use them to check in when they need a refresher or have an issue that needs more specialized attention.
I also offer several prerecorded scoliosis workouts your child can do at home. They contain movements specifically designed to untwist your child's spine.
Scoliosis Series: Balanced Body
*If you’re able to find a skilled Pilates Instructor in your town who truly understands how to care for your child's scoliosis, I encourage you to work with them. Unfortunately, my years of experience working with people with scoli around the world has taught me that those instructors are far and few between. For that reason, I've created ways for your child to care for their beautiful body through Pilates even when a local instructor is not available.
9. WATCH Kids with Scoliosis
While aimed at practitioners, this video discusses my unique, light-hearted approach for working with kids with scoliosis. The video will help you learn how to deal with the emotional side of your child's scoliosis. You'll also see what kind of local practitioner you should look for to work with your child.
10. ATTEND Scoliosis Intensive
When you believe your child will benefit from some in person instruction, attend the Scoliosis Intensive together. When you sign your child up, you can attend the workshop with them for free.
Anyone with scoliosis is welcome to attend, no matter if they have a 6 or 70-degree curve or if they're fused or unfused. Erin and her staff will work with your child to help them understand their scoli. We keep the ratios small (3 people with scoli: 1 teacher) so your child can get the maximum benefit.
During the workshop your child will learn in a hands-on, easy-to-understand way how to:
- use a scoliometer and regularly track their progress
- appropriately pad their back
- perform research-backed strengthening and release exercises that can be done at home
- figure out the individual exercises their body needs most
- modify exercises in group classes
- develop a game plan for when they return home so they can continue helping their unique body and live their best life
11. FIND a local manual therapist
Manual therapy, not a spa massage, is an essential part of your child's scoliosis care. Oftentimes muscles are so tight that stretching cannot sufficiently relax them. This is where a skilled manual therapist comes in. Look for someone who works with scoliosis patients or who is open to listening to you and your child and to learning how to care for your child's unique body. If you need more information on different kinds of manual therapists, watch video 5 in the Starting Point Series.
I recommend your child see someone on a schedule you can comfortably manage, both financially and time-wise. Infrequent visits are better than never going.
12. ENCOURAGE your child to keep it up
Having scoliosis means constant, daily work. Regular movement and release will help your child live their best, pain-free life. Your child and their spine are worth it, I promise.